Worth Reading

K-12 Testing

Rethinking Schools has published a fine new book, Failing Our Kids: Why the Testing Craze Won’t Fix Our Schools. The volume contains a wide range of short, readable articles discussing the harmful impact of tests on students, schools and standards, the roots of testing, and alternatives. FairTest staff contributed several of the articles. Highly recommended as an introduction to the issue, useful for high school as well as college classes. $8, bulk discounts available. RS, 1001 E. Keefe Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53212; (800) 669-4192; http://www.rethinkingschools.org/.


The School Administrator for December 2000 focuses on high-stakes testing, asking “Will misguided test use doom the standards movement?” Critiques of high-stakes testing in this issue include pieces by Peter Sacks, author of Standardized Minds (see Examiner, Winter 1999-2000); UCLA professor emeritus James Popham; and Dan Domenech, superintendent of Fairfax County, VA. Sacks’ lead article notes, “Our schools have been consumed by a cult of measurement, which has blinded Americans to real damage... We keep repeating the same mistakes... The losers in high-stakes testing schemes always have been children of the poor, the working class and undereducated.” Available on the web at www.aasa.org/publications, or from American Association of School Administrators at (888) 782-2272.


The January 2001 Phi Delta Kappan, a monthly journal which consistently includes some of the nation’s finest writing on testing, featured Alfie Kohn and Susan Ohanian writing on the growing resistance to high-stakes testing. In addition, Elliott Eisner explained why tests are inadequate for evaluating schools, arguing that we need measures which point beyond schools and indicate what students do with what they have learned. Nearly every month’s issue has useful articles on standards, testing, or related important topics. Subscription Dept, PDK, P.O. Box 789, Bloomington, IN 47402; $44.00; single issues also available; http://pdkintl.org/kappan/kappan.htm